Celebrating Women: Connie Tilley, Longtime St. Norbert Women’s Basketball Coach

Womens History

“It’s where my life, my career, my passion, really my family has been for 40 years.”

Connie Tilley has called St. Norbert College home for over the past four decades, and she was the perfect person to raise the profile of women’s sports for the Green Knights.

“This place just, kind of by fate, wound up needing someone at the right time and the right situation. So I came and it was beautiful and loved it. And I had the opportunity to not necessarily start a program, but kind of put it on the map and that was kind of the attraction.”

For 42 years, Tilley has mentored, taught, and turned young ladies into professional women and, much like the games themselves, it wasn’t always easy.”

“Obviously, our emphasis was on the academic part, so if they qualified for that, but were not necessarily the most talented kids. Even though I did get a lot of good talent, the ones that would fit into the division three philosophy, the ones that would fit into the other people I was recruting. So character and those kinds of things came first for me.”

From thousands of practices, to literally over 1,000 games, Tilley has been the face of the franchise for women’s basketball and while the wins and losses are what most coaches are measured by, she’s well aware of her legacy and what she’ll miss the most.

“The kids. I think most coaches will say that they probably like the games and the competition. Those kinds of things, but I just really like the practices. I like seeing the kids every single day.”

“And after one season was done, I really miss them. And seeing them every day. This year was a little diffferent, every time they left practice, they’d give me a hug and tell me that they love me, and stuff like that. Those are the things I’m really going to miss.”

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